TRI Gives Student Workers Real Work Experience

TRI Gives Student Workers Real Work Experience

September 22, 2015

Editor's Note: This article was originally published May 18, 2015. TRI extends a warm welcome to all new and returning Western Oregon University students!

By Taylor Leech

Taylor, Shelby, and Amy

I have been employed as a student worker with TRI at Western Oregon University for the past six months. My job here has given me the chance to write some of the blog posts for the website. Recently, I was asked to write something about what it's like to be a student worker here, and to ask some of the other TRI student workers about their experience.


My job title is Social Media Assistant

During my time with TRI, I have learned a lot about what it is like to work in a professional environment. My daily tasks include updating the various social media accounts for the Centers housed within TRI, taking pictures for the Child Development Center (TRI-CDC), and this is the third article I have been asked to write for the TRI website.

Here are the children from the TRI-CDC celebrating Nuestra Fiesta Latina - Fun!                                 

The people at TRI

From the day I got hired, I found the halls of TRI filled with friendly and passionate people! I feel trusted with the work I am given to do. This trust has created a sense of independence and responsibility within me. I am thankful for the opportunity to expand my work experience with the help of the staff at TRI.

Student worker, Leanne Cook

Leanne Cook

One of my fellow TRI student workers is Leanne Cook. Leanne has worked here with the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) for almost a year. NCDB is one of the many projects here at TRI.

She says, “It's fulfilling to have an organization trust your abilities to the point where you work directly with the public and represent the organization.”

Leanne also feels like the work she does is meaningful and she is respected as a valued contributor on the parts of the projects she is involved in.

Leanne works with people across campus and across the country

A few of the opportunities she has been given include networking with professionals from New York, Texas, and California, as well as working with the Western Oregon University community, including the professors and staff across campus.

She says of her work here, “NCDB has really invested in my growth and development as an individual, as well as a member of their professional community. The opportunities that I have been given provide a platform for my future career and I am extremely grateful for that.” 

(Update: Leanne has since been hired on as a Project Specialist with TRI, working with NCDB.)

From student workers to full-time staff -

Amy Rizo and Shelby Morgan 

Amy and Shelby

Amy Rizo worked as a student worker at TRI for a year and was honored when they offered her a full-time position right after graduation.

Reflecting on her transition from a student worker to a staff member, Amy says, "It was exciting and positive. The staff at TRI treated me as a respected staff member immediately, as did the rest of the faculty at WOU. I have come to appreciate Western Oregon University more because of the way it treats its employees."

Shelby Morgan started as a student worker with TRI back in 2009. She was assigned to work in the National Deaf-Blind library.

She was hired as a full-time employee in March 2014 and now does collection development, supervises a student worker, does website support for NCDB, and supports initiative teams.

She says that the great staff made her transition from a student worker to a staff member easy because she knew she had their support and encouragement.

TRI gives student workers a chance to prove themselves

TRI is a supportive environment with staff members who treat their student workers as equal and appreciated team members. As student workers at TRI, we are provided with meaningful opportunities and professional experience that are successfully preparing us for our futures outside of college.

For the 2014-15 academic year, TRI had 13 student workers on various projects, plus 10 student workers in the TRI Child Development Center.

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